For the 1995-1996 school year, I taught in Albert Lea, MN at Brookside Middle School (which apparently closed around 2000). In January, my teaching team decided to do a month-long interdisciplinary unit on water, sort of creating an “interim” or “J-Term” for our students. They learned about water in science, they wrote about water in English, I honestly can’t remember how they studied water in math, and in history we studied the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior, the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, and the sinking of the Titanic. My friends came and helped decorate the room (I never was very good at bulletin boards), and we had an “underwater classroom” for the month. We made a booklet on the Apostle Islands (a Wiki or Scrapblog would now make it more colorful, interactive, and rich, oh, and wouldn’t need photocopying!), and then read about and saw videos on the Edmund Fitzgerald and the Titanic (go National Geographic and Snag Films!)
Last night I went to the Science Museum to see the IMAX film, “Titanica” and ran into one of my former students from Albert Lea, she was going in to watch the same film. We caught up for a few minutes (she is going to start work on her doctorate in August) and sat together in the theatre. How fun was it to learn more about the Titanic with her thirteen years later! Seeing her made me think of Albert Lea, getting those lessons together, and teaching the class. With that inspiration, this week I will be writing about how those lessons would be different today. I hope you find the reflection interesting too.